This article is part of our DraftKings NHL series.
It's a busy night for the NHL on Saturday. Looks like somebody isn't afraid of the competition from the NFL playoffs. Well, five Canadian teams are playing that night, to be fair. Nine games start at 7 p.m. EST or later, and that's where I am focusing for my DFS recommendations.
There were eight games Friday, and so doing the math you know there will be quite a few teams on the second leg of a back-to-back Saturday. That includes Arizona, the worst team in the NHL. Sure, the Coyotes are doing the New York City doubleheader, but it's still two road games in as many days. The Hurricanes, Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Lightning are also all on the road for the second night of a back-to-back. Although, the Blackhawks are doing a home-and-home with the Wild, so that's less of an advantage. The Islanders are at home for the second day in a row as well, and they have a goaltending duo that can handle that.
Darcy Kuemper, COL vs. MON ($8,500): Even with a couple slip ups, Kuemper has been on fire recently. Over his last 11 games he has a 2.34 GAA and .926 save percentage. Pavel Francouz is back, but Kuemper has held onto the lead role with his play. Now he faces the Canadiens, who have scored a mere 2.18 goals per game, last in the league.
Igor Shesterkin, NYR vs. ARI ($8,400): Even with the easy matchup, there's a lot to love about Shesterkin. He has a 2.03 GAA and .938 save percentage with an 18-4-2 record. Then, of course, there is the matchup. The Coyotes are 31st in goals per game and last in shots on net per contest. The Rangers are on the second leg of a back-to-back, but they are at home and the Coyotes are in the same boat. Since they started Alexandar Georgiev on Friday, Shesterkin is in line for this one.
Vitek Vanecek, WAS vs. OTT ($8,100): Vanecek has the benefit of a stingy defense in front of him. The Capitals have allowed a mere 28.4 shots on net per contest. Thus, he has a 2.57 GAA even though he only has a .909 save percentage. However, over his last seven games Vanecek has a .915 save percentage, so he's looked a bit better. Meanwhile, the Senators have scored 2.82 goals per game, which is below average.
Ryan Strome, NYR vs. ARI ($5,400): Strome had a three-game point streak before Friday, and over his last 14 games he's had 12 points. The Coyotes have saved Karel Vejmelka for this game, but the rookie is only doing well relative to his fellow 'Yotes goalies. He has a 3.10 GAA and .910 save percentage.
Nicklas Backstrom, WAS vs. OTT ($4,600): On the occasions Backstrom has been able to get on the ice, he's looked like his old self. The Swede has six points in eight games, including three with the extra man. He's played in five games in a row, which is the longest stretch he's managed so far. Meanwhile, the Senators have a 3.67 GAA, tied for the highest in the NHL.
Blake Coleman, CGY at EDM ($3,300): Coleman has picked it up recently, with five points in his last six games. Also during that time he had an outing with a whopping 12 shots on net. Overall he has 107 shots on goal in 34 games. The Oilers have allowed 32.6 shots on goal per contest, and the goaltending has slipped recently. Since the start of December, Mikko Koskinen has a 3.99 GAA and .867 save percentage.
LINE STACKS TO CONSIDER
What we have here is the team averaging the most goals per game in the NHL facing the team tied for the highest GAA in the NHL. The Canadiens have allowed 3.67 goals and 34.8 shots on net per game. They also have a bottom-five penalty kill. Colorado could really hang a number on the Habs if it wants. Obviously the Avalanche have arguably the top line in the NHL, but this, their second line, is quite impressive as well.
Kadri is having an incredible season. He's notched 51 points in 35 games. Plus, his 12.8 shooting percentage is totally sustainable. Kadri hasn't even been that lucky! Burakovsky is the one who seems like he's been luckier, as he has a 20.3 shooting percentage. However, over the previous two seasons he's posted a 19.0 shooting percentage. Finishing is a skill he has, and Burakovsky has 11 points in his last 10 games. O'Connor isn't on the same level, but he has 15 points and 81 shots on goal. He's along for the ride, but anything from him in this stack will benefit you, and this is a matchup that could bear fruit.
The Predators are rested, while the Red Wings plays Friday. They are also dealing with the fact Thomas Greiss may not be cleared from COVID-19 protocols. That could mean Calvin Pickard in net for the Wings, or perhaps Alex Nedeljkovic pulling double duty. However, the goaltending situation looks for Detroit on Saturday, I like Nashville's top line here.
Granlund just scored his first goal in a while, but he's picked up plenty of helpers. He has 29 assists this season, including seven in his last 12 games. Forsberg has potted 19 goals this season, even though he's only played in 29 contests. Duchene has notched 17 goals, 18 assists, and 108 shots on goal in 38 contests. He's also averaged 2:51 with the extra man and tallied 14 power-play points.
Samuel Girard, COL vs. MON ($4,100): The Avalanche are so talented they have three or four defensemen that are fantasy viable. That includes Girard, who has 21 points in 36 games. Not only do the Canadiens have the league's highest GAA, they are down to third-string goalie Samuel Montembault as their top option. Since taking over from Jake Allen he has a 3.80 GAA and .909 save percentage in eight appearances.
Justin Schultz, WAS vs. OTT ($3,200): This is assuming that John Carlson isn't back from COVID-19 protocols yet. In Carlson's absence, Schultz has averaged 3:21 per game with the extra man. That level of opportunity would bode well against a Senators team with a 3.67 GAA.
Alex Goligoski, MIN vs. CHI ($3,100): Goligoski's move to Minnesota has paid off for him. He's picked up 21 points in 31 games. The Wild and Blackhawks are finishing off their home-and-home Saturday, but Marc-Andre Fleury was in net Friday. That likely means Kevin Lankinen — who has a 3.43 GAA and .884 save percentage — will be in net for Chicago.